The new 240-g robot, also known as the Timeless Belt Climbing Platform (TBCP-II), is capable of reliably transferring from a flat surface to a wall over both inside and outside corners at speeds of up to 3.4cm/s.
have developed a tank-like robot that has the ability to scale smooth
walls, opening up a series of applications ranging from inspecting
pipes, buildings, aircraft and nuclear power plants to deployment in
search and rescue operations.
Their study, published today, insert date, in IOP Publishing’s journal Smart Materials and Structures, is the first to apply this unique, bioinspired material to a robot that operates in a tank-like manner.
method offers an alternative to the magnets, suction cups, spines and
claws that have all been presented as possible mechanisms, but seem to
fall at the same hurdle––the ability to climb smooth surfaces such as
glass or plastic.
inspiration from the gecko, researchers have been able to create
adhesives that carefully mimic the toe pads of the lizard that give it
the amazing ability to climb smooth vertical surfaces and shuffle across
robots, driven by belts rather than a set of legs, are advantageous in
that they have a simplified mechanical design and control architecture,
have an increased mobility and can be easily expanded, just like a
train, if you need to increase the load the robot is carrying.
new, 240-g robot, also known as the Timeless Belt Climbing Platform
(TBCP-II) and developed by researchers at Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, is capable of reliably transferring from a flat surface to a
wall over both inside and outside corners at speeds of up to 3.4cm/s.
is also fitted with a multitude of sensors that are able to detect the
surroundings of the robot and change its course of action accordingly.
author, researcher Jeff Krahn, said: “With an adequate power supply,
our robot is capable of functioning fairly independently when it
encounters larger-scale objects such as boxes or walls. However, we are
still developing a control strategy to ensure the robot is capable of
fully autonomous functionality.”
toes of geckos have amazing characteristics that allow them to adhere
to most surfaces and research suggests that they work as result of van
der Waals forces––very weak, attractive forces that occur between
dry, but sticky toe pads, also known as dry fibrillar adhesives, were
recreated in the lab using the material polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and
were manufactured to contain very small mushroom cap shapes that were 17
?m wide and 10 ?m high.
van der Waals forces are considered to be relatively weak, the thin,
flexible overhang provided by the mushroom cap ensures that the area of
contact between the robot and the surface is maximized.
adhesive pads on geckos follow this same principle by utilizing a large
number of fibres, each with a very small tip. The more fibres a gecko
has in contact, the greater attachment force it has on a surface,” Krahn